Death Knell for Google TV Already Sounding?


We could all cross our fingers and say it’s only for the holidays or it could be a white knuckled effort to get more units into the hands of consumers; but an equally probable story is 25% off of Sony’s Blu-Ray GTV units can only mean bad things.

With almost every major network giving the middle finger to Google TV and blocking access to their .com shows, it could be a safe bet to make that Google TV heads for an early grave long before it was able to truly take over the world.

I could beg and plead with the networks in this article. “Give GTV a chance” “Stop being blind to progress” “It brings more viewers to your site, which translates to more revenue” “Trading a multi million dollar middle man for a free one should make sense!” But maybe the world isn’t ready for GTV. A lot of products were released well before their time, floundered and made a come back to change the world; with luck GTV could, at least, make this list.

[via TechCrunch]

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  1. NO! They can’t kill it. When will these idiots at the networks realize that this device helps them? Unlike all the other boxes they support, this is on the same input as your cable box. It it meant to integrate with it, not eliminate it. They should be embracing that it better allows me to search for content on my TV and online. One the market opens up the possibilities for this device are endless. It just needs a chance.

  2. can somebody explain why they are blocking GTV? If I understand it correctly, users still have to watch ads before accessing online content, and probably have to see a lot more ads just by visiting the site.
    Another thing, isn’t it possible to change the system ID on GTV in order to bypass provider’s visitor filtering?

  3. I think Google made a couple mistakes with Google TV. They locked it down too much: having root would allow hackers to circumvent the blocks put in place by the networks. And second, they should have pushed to make apps available at launch, or delayed the device until the App market was ready. Having apps on Google TV would make it much more useful. Simply being able to watch YouTube or browsing the internet is not enough to warrant the high price tag. Let’s hope these iszsues are solved in time for Google TV to succeed.

  4. Can somebody explain why we need GTV? Consumers can’t understand it, the remote is too big and complex, and historically people have not clamored for internet access via TV. And it’s pricy at a time when TV sets and simple set-top boxes like Roku are getting a lot cheaper. It might be too much, too soon; or it might just be misconceived.

  5. @Ander the networks are blocking GTV by way of its unique flash ID. The old user agent switch was closed early on.

  6. Of course it will fail. In the early 2000’s a whole bunch of companies tried the whole computer TV things. It failed miserably and people seem to have forgotten just how useless the devices were.

  7. Google should just hack their way around it.

  8. This story is ridiculous. Sony blu-ray goes on sale means Google TV has failed? Give me a break.

  9. Hey Chicken Little, don’t you think you’re several months premature in saying the sky is falling? GTV just came out a few weeks ago. We don’t even expect apps to start hitting the market until after the holiday season. I suppose you predicted Android would fail too, back in the days of 1.0, but look where it is now after a couple of years.

    Unless you’re looking for GTV to replace your cable/satellite service, which is NOT what Google built the box to do, it’s a great addition. I love being able to jump from a watching a show on my PVR to the show’s web site using PIP to check something out, using Netflix or Amazon VOD, or streaming music or video from my Windows PC. That all works great. And for us Dish subscribers the box is only $170 and it integrates web, broadcast and PVR seamlessly.

  10. When I first heard of the $299+ speculation, I knew that would be the biggest set-back to the platform. Apps or not, I don’t believe it has a ‘chance’ until its under $200. It’s unfortunate, but even as a Google/Android enthusiast, I can hardly justify buying a Revue. And that’s not even speaking of the actual performance, which is slow, at best. I’m only going to invest early because I am an Android developer. I can’t honestly recommend someone else buy a GTV right now, and that kind of sucks.

  11. @jeffrey
    “Consumers can’t understand it.”

    This makes no sense. Are you saying consumers can’t understand hulu and netflix? TV over the internet is here and consumers that are in the market for a set top device like this certainly “understand it”.

    And the remote topic is annoying me now. You do realize that GoogleTV is controlled by any Android (or iphone) as a remote exactly as the AppleTV is? The remotes are a nice but entirely optional accessory.

  12. This is typical TechCrunch pseudo journalism, did it occur to anyone that Sony has to match the pricing of the Logitech gtv in order to sell these. I own one and very happy with it, do not miss apps at all the browser with flash is the killer app, as for content from TV networks those are still accessible via the RSS queue app so it’s all fuss for now. And you have Netflix too. :)

  13. I personally could care less about trying to browse to internet sites to play flash. That to me was never the appeal of GTV nor is it the appeal of anyone I know. The problem is that the appeal it does have is custom apps and DVR search. The first isn’t ready yet and the second was done rather poorly because they got none of the providers on board. Consider that with the high cost that exceeds all other solutions and you already know why it’s failing.

  14. It’s simple: established content owners do not want a computer in the living room. It cuts down on the money they make on advertising, it cuts down on DVD and iTunes sales, and most of all, it puts independent and user generated content on the same screen as their multimillion dollar productions.

    In order for an internet TV solution to take hold it needs to have access to the established players in order to get people to buy it. They know that as long as the network and cable shows are not on there, people won’t buy it and they can head off this inevitable move for another few years. You can already do this with an cheap or repurposed PC but most people won’t consider it. They only want set-top appliances in the living room so the real thread is something like this which puts Youtube on the same screen as Survivor.

    The real threat is that people will realize that there are other shows out there made by users and independents and that this year’s “reality” clusterfuck isn’t really any better. The longer they can keep computers out of the living room the longer they can keep making billions off of garbage shows.

  15. The fact is that Google TV already has one foot in the grave. If there was even a tiny chance of success remaining, we would be very aware of google’s negotiations with content providers much like we always hear about apple’s negotiations.

    But because we have heard nothing from mountain view about ANY of the blocks it is clear that they have thrown in the towel and have no desire to give the product a chance, ala wave.

    One must keep in mind that google has nothing to lose if the platform fails. All of the risk is on the hardware manufacturers. Google’s investment in the platform is a tiny sliver of what the manufacturers have to invest to design, develop, produce, and market the hardware.

    Another Google FAIL for the books.

  16. This isn’t really a surprise. Sure it bridges the gap between a computer and a DVR, but it’s not a gap that’s needed to be bridged for the majority of consumers. To the average consumer, a TV is for watching TV, DVDs and the like. Any house with a DVR will have access to On-Demand/PPV movies and already be recording shows they want to watch and to find new shows, the search on those boxes works well enough. Bundling web/youtube/amazon/etc results along with it just clutters things up and makes it confusing. Not only that, but I’m sure many of them don’t understand why they need yet another box that doesn’t actually replace their current DVR and really only does a little bit more than their DVR. Also, the more savvy of us consumers will most likely already have some other means of getting web content on our TVs via TiVo, an HTPC, Xbox/PS3, Roku and the like. Basically what I’m trying to say is, the people who’d really benefit from GTV already have something that does the same job better (and isn’t banned from every content site known to man). Since I first heard about GTV, I’ve said it would be better suited as a layer upon Windows Media Center. At least then it’d be reaching its core audience, in my mind.

  17. i disagree. Google TV is about a long-term market strategy. as a developer, i’m very interested in developing for this evolving platform. once the app market develops for google tv, the game will change dramatically. its not a device designed to do tv in the same approach as the traditional devices. content providers will eventually want to get in to access the audience. and i’m sure the device will evolve to include voice commands and suggestive technologies to direct relevant content to the viewer based on history and interests. all could create great mass appeal in the market.

  18. Bull article. So the cant put the anything on sale now? This article is a #fail. Also wasnt it you guys who reported an article saying more manufacturers are going to start making google tvd? Although I do wish it was $150 cheaper. Failed article.

  19. Has ANYONE realized that no large corporate enterprise embraces progress quickly. Change is costly. It will take time (years) for the transition.

  20. The reason I’m buying a Sony Internet TV is that after 20 yrs it will be a collector’s item worth 20x the initial cost. It’s agood investment.

  21. I’m writing this via my GTV/Blu Ray, while watching my football game in P.I.P. I also checked the point spread earlier on google chrome. We DVR 70% of our prime time veiwing with the exception of live news & sports. So we buzz thru the adds when we watch recorded shows. Funny thing is when we watch the network shows via our PC/Mac we have to watch the adds because you can’t FF> thru them. Seems like the networks would be blocking the DVR’s instead. Live TV is the only reason I haven’t cut the cord.

  22. The networks are afraid of losing control of the distribution of their content like the music industry did. They see Google and Apple as a major threat.

    There are only 2 ways google can have their product survive 1- do what apple did and rent (not sell) the content to consumers on behalf of the networks (and be forced into negotiating prices for rentals every year.

    and the best solution 2- fund and create your own content until you become a threat to the network cotent itself, only then will the networks let loose their own content to crush the uprising. google cold start by making deals with live production of major music shows and bands on tours, basically being what MTV used to be and developing from there.

  23. It makes sense for them to block it.
    You can watch it on you PC because it’s on your PC.
    What’s the sense of watching a TV show through a website, on your TV?
    The quality is lower, and the ads cost less.
    It’s business, tried and true, and honestly not a bad business choice to block it.
    ‘Til things change, just use your DVR, or boycott.

  24. When they add DVR software to Google TV, then it will take off.

  25. Relax. This is your typical “product death prediction” article. Just because GTV wasn’t a big hit doesn’t mean squat. Google doesn’t work like typical tech companies. They don’t throw gigantic rallies to talk about how great they are or spend hundreds of millions on advertising. This is a good product that will take off because it’s based on a solid platform that developers know, Android. As soon as the app market hit there’s going to be 5 bazillion things you can do with this device, everyone will want one, and TV content providers will realize that it can be a revenue stream.

  26. Put simply, the root issue is in the name — it’s not Google’s TV to sell. The people who do own it are rightfully, and smartly, giving Google the middle finger. Google TV is in no way in their interest, quite the opposite, and there’s no downside whatsoever for them to blocking it.

    Google had to know this would happen, they’re not stupid, but they went ahead with their “All your data are belong to us” attitude rather than hashing things out with the networks first, the result was as predictable as it was inevitable.

    The only one at fault here is Google.

  27. @keepgimme5alive

    too little too late, if they had all of that in place at launch, and were able to make deals with the major networks before launch so they didn’t get cut off….THEN maybe at a <$200 price point would it work out well

    hell, they could have subsidized it, sell it through your cable provider for $299 with a 1/yr commitment, just like cell phones, and people would have jumped on it like UVerse on ATT which works nicely……

    but instead they decided to launch a product too expensive with no apps, and no support from any major carriers, networks or wholesale providers

    its already DEAD, and to "James", read the article….it said 25% off of Sony Blu Ray GTV equipped players, the fact that GTV equipped units need to be sold off cheaply already is a very bad sign

  28. It would be nice to have them try and target other countries then. The US is a great place but politics/corruption always gets in the way of progress. If it fails in the US for now it doesnt mean that it wont thrive overseas or in Canada. I think the UK would embrace it, and it might have a chance in the north too. after working up a solid base then they could try the US again…

  29. I think what nobody here has mentioned (but some have asked) is that the networks are blocking GTV because of the revenue they get from Cable and Satellite providers. If GTV takes off, then why pay for Cable/Satellite? The Cable/Satellite providers pay the networks to carry their content, so the networks make money on these fees plus the advertising. The networks also own several groups of cable/satellite only stations and get revenue for these, so they want to keep the cable/satellite providers happy. The cable/satellite providers are terrified of the internet and GTV because it could limit them to being simply ISP’s –or outright kill them. Nevertheless, I believe that GTV or something like it is inevitable and the internet will eventually take over all content transmission. The cable and satellite guys are going to slow it down with the help of the networks, but they will loose in the end.

  30. I think if the old media keep playing hardball, Google could respond by making a deal with a big time show producer and start a cable channel series a la Sopranos, Mad men, or Entourage or hook up with a reality series producer, like Simon Cowell. Broadcast it on YouTube only. Show the old media that if they’re going to play hardball, 2 guys can play that game. I don’t think the Networks or cable channels want to do battle with Google in their own backyard. They’re having a hard enough time as it is. If Apple follows suit, it’s game set & match against the old media.

  31. The only good thing about google tv right now is that every porn site online can be viewed using google tv. ;)

    I love google tv & i hope they work something out with these networks.

  32. Netflix is a waste imo. They only stream older movies to your device and until they start streaming new releases, I’ll continue using Redbox and Hastings to rent new releases. As for GTV, its ashame the networks are so greedy. I’m sure they’ll eventually come around, but who knows how long that’ll take!

  33. breaking news: google tv to integrate torrents in response to network lockout.

    not going to happen, but i would lol

  34. I don’t see what the point is in blocking some devices (Google TV, mobile devices, etc.) and not others. If the networks are willing to let you watch the content for whatever revenue they can get from the adds on the site and in the video stream, why does it matter to them what device you’re viewing it on?

  35. @UncleMike
    See my earlier post above ^^^^

  36. The one thing I have seen failed to mention here is that Android it self was out how long before anything other than the G1 had it on it. If I am not mistaken it was atleast 18 months or so a couple of which there was no market place for it. I see the same thing happening with GTV. It is just going to take time for it to become appealing to the major networks.

  37. No it is far from dead. Well it may be dead in America.
    But Europe especially the Uk an Asia mainly South Korea are potential market with a widely open TV markets, an open minded tv networks, UK networks are already building themselves there own version of Google TV called Youview an the networks could not really block google as they promise they would not block rival entries into the market so they could get the Okay from Ofcom for the youview platform. South Korea already have services years ahead of what Google TV is providing.

    I suspect through Google planned this all along, an are well prepared for the long road ahead on acquiring access to content.

  38. blocking content on the gtv has to do more about the lucrative distribution contracts the media providers have with the cable/satellite operators. if media and web content suddenly becomes easily available in the living room through gtv, people may realize they do not need the expensive services from the cable/satellite operators. come to think of it, gtv may reduce them as dumb pipes threatening their current business model. if that happens, their distribution contracts with the media providers go south, which will ultimately affect the media providers’ bottom line.

  39. what did you expect, corporations arent making enough money from it. so they wont let anyone have it….. just more reason i hate this stupid planet and the way all these idiots run it.

    you know, i really hope the world ends some crazy way in 2012…. cuz we just arent worth it…..

  40. I have a theory on why networks are blocking devices like Google TV. The reason is probably because it’s convenient enough to get rid of your regular TV service (which many have done, and I will be soon). The ad revenue they get from streaming content most likely doesn’t make up for the revenue they get from cable/satellite providers. Yes, it’s true that you can watch content on your PC for free, but for most people, it’s too inconvenient to replace cable/satellite subscriptions. Lost subscriptions means lost dollars, and it has to be made up somewhere. Hulu, while indirectly offering content, still is not intended to replace TV service without subscription fees, so it kinda makes sense for that too. Now, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever paying the $7.99/month that Hulu wants, IF they actually offered at the very least the same content that their website has. Until then, it’s iffy whether or not I will subscribe. But, I have a feeling that the reasons for the limited content is, again, a money issue, in that the networks see it as enabling people to cancel cable/satellite subscriptions, thus causing them to lose revenue. The networks have probably got a lot of pull with companies like Hulu, which ties their hands on new content offerings without various negotiations over compensation.

    Money is the name of the game here, people. Let’s just hope Google, Hulu, and the like can figure out how to make the future of cheap content distribution work, and fast. Cable and satellite providers have had us over a barrel for far too long, and if online content ends up costing as much as a cable subscription, people will never go for it, this stifling new innovation in this market.

  41. @nom said it right, if gtv provides everything like normal tv + more then people cancel their cable, this means no money from cable goes to networks, their wallets get thinner.
    It’s all about money…

  42. peeps just aint ready

  43. I’m not sure why they are blocking Google TV.
    But after seeing information from

    I know they think that Google might turn themselve to be evil now!

  44. Too early to tell. I think there are a few things as play here. First, the “Google generation” (did I just really type that?) doesn’t have a lot of respect/loyalty to Sony. In fact many hate Sony. Second (as others have said) content providers are nervous about bypassing cable in the living room. Right now they want to get paid by cable + advertisers + reach internet watchers. If they have to deal with internet watchers in the living room, they lose a revenue stream.

    Really, if I can get ESPN3 + B10 network over internet next year (‘sker fan) + HULU + Netflix, why do I need cable?

  45. @taran

    Wow, really? The whole planet should just go away because you want Google tv your way? LOL ok…..hey, why don’t you and any of the others start your own tv network and distribute the content as you see fit? greedy? maybe, but it is their content, not yours. The networks owe you or google or anyone else, nothing. Why doesn’t google create their own content? There is a novel idea….Google lives off of other peoples data, and some (companies or people) may not want to share…as I am sure there are certain things you would not share with google or others on the net. Just because you don’t understand, like or agree with a companies business decisions doesn’t mean they are evil.

  46. @brad…
    you are right , but I do not see it as stiffling, actually it leaves the field wide open for someone to come in and fill in the void….some one, if there is a way to make money, will step up and join googletv, right?

  47. Has anyone here ever used a GTV? Some of this posts are downright ignorant of the fact that if you dont stream tv from GTV you can still get it for free on regular channels on GTV. As far as streaming movines GTV has NETFLIX. Am I missing something? This will not fail in fact Television Networks will be forced to tune their content for maximum cash for things such as GTV

  48. There’s not a lot of information here but am I supposed to believe that Google didn’t lock down network participation PRIOR to advertising and actually manufacturing the product? Isn’t the entire concept based on network cooperation? Its great that Google tries so many things and some fail and that’s part of it but this seems different, no networks means your product doesn’t exist as conceived right? And these are the people in charge of android? I guess that explains the inexcusable bugs existing across various phone manufacturers, Google can’t get their shit together on the stuff that does succeed…

  49. Guys calm down. Sony said this “The 46-inch, Google TV-enabled Sony TV is now $1,199 – a $200 savings. The 40-inch set is available for $898, and the Blu-ray player with Google TV is $299, both a $100 discount.

    The deals run until November 29, and are available at, Sony Style stores, Best Buy, and other select dealers.”

    It’s Black Friday Sale. Geez. Whats wrong with you guys

  50. No, the entire concept isn’t based on network cooperation. It’s based on supplementing existing programming sources (yeah, you continue to pay your cable/satellite bill) with a rich Internet-based experience.

    And by the way, Sony also cut the price of their $180 Blu-Ray player to $99. Does that mean that Blu-Ray is about to fail?

  51. “almost every major network giving the middle finger to Google TV and blocking access to their .com shows”

    Network TV, cable TV, TV as you know it is dead. These companies see the future and they are fighting for their lives.

  52. People that complain that GTV is too expensive need to chill. The Revue is a full fledged Logitech Harmony remote, and it inserts itself between the cable box and the tv. No need for six remotes, this one does it all. And you never no that google tv is there intil you need it. The sony blu ray player is a blu ray player with google tv, in my opinion it should have been 300 to begin with. I’m sure companies will come out soon with $100 options that are bare bones versions, meaning that they don’t have blu ray players or an awesome multi-device remote capabilities. The revue is worth all of the $300 in my opinion. And as far as a death knell, I don’t think so, this whole thing about the networks blocking google tv is a bit over hyped. Yeah, it’s a shame that the major networks can’t get their heads outta their asses to see this benefits them, but when have you known the networks to do anything pioneering, the smaller companies love it because they know people are looking for alternatives and they are happy to oblige. And when the Android market hits, watch out. It will revolutionize the way people use their tvs and watch tv in general. By summer everyone will want in and the pioneers will be on top and the others will be scrambling for their share. Get on the bus, or get out of the way.

  53. see, this is why i watch PIRATED CONTENT for FREE, ONLINE. F big business.

  54. Bring it to the UK! We already have a wealth of TV-based on demand services provided by all the big networks! We’ll have it with open arms!

  55. Hello guys,
    As much as I like google, I do think the networks are wise to protect and to be able to control THEIR media.
    Why open things up, allow people to LEAVE your channel where YOU control things and stick it up in the air for less control, more media fragmentation. I wouldnt.

  56. I think they would have a much better chance of selling it if they get at least one provider on board and also get some tv companys on board to build it into the tv as standered as a bonus to their higher end tv’s because then they can get lots of people to own one meaning the service providers may be compeating to get on board to get a share of that market

  57. @al

    I watch house and fringe on my laptop connected to my tv and it comes through in perfect HD. You either have never tried it or have a crappy setup. Perhaps you should try before you spout nonesense.

  58. Its ridiculous to assert that Google has nothing to lose if GTV fails
    They most CERTAINLY do.

  59. Google has to share the ad revenue with the networks. It’s always about the money. They don’t give a shit about getting more viewers, if they don’t make that extra dollar. There is so much potential to make everyone some money. Click to purchase any products that you see on any prerecorded show and share a percentage of that revenue with everyone involved (future Google TV app). Sounds like Google needs to go into the TV business and form their own network.

  60. @Barry
    Exactly! But either Google or the TV companies are being pigheaded. I think the Big Three put all their money into Hulu and thought that it was going to be the end-all be-all. But they of course are slow to move and will take a bit to come around. My guess Spring 2011. But for now I am content with my cable and the stations that I don’t have on cable are available for me on the internet, which I watch on Google Tv

  61. IMHO, the networks are just dragging their feet to the future.

    We will get the content one way or another, and I know that this is not my strongest area of knowledge with rights, and all that, but really…It’s just a matter of time before our TVs and PCs are either all in one, or both serve double duty to back each other up, serving content on both.

    It’s just a matter of time.

  62. Honestly I don’t see this taking off with Netflix and Hulu making further strides… Google would be better off doing a partnership with one of them to spur revenue from ad placement

  63. One word: Bitorrent. Screw the networks, I should be able to watch what I want, when I want, how I want. That’s called customer demand. If you are unwilling to meet your customer’s needs, then get the hell out of business.


  64. Apple had some stuff on sale recently, are they also on the way out?

  65. People who are saying GTV impedes on network ads don’t seem to know WTF GTV even is. It’s a suppliment and was never made to replace cable or the networks stupid ads.

    Without cable GTV doesn’t exist; the whole box *INTEGRATES* with your current cable box; so you still pay them for the DVR, you still watch cbs’s stupid commercials and you still pay for your HD service to Comcrap or whoever else.

    It’s like fuel companies not allowing gas stations to be full service out of spite; people are still buying the fucking gas!

  66. Don’t have Cable TV. I only use Netflix (through my WII) or watch movies I purchased. Not so much interested in Google TV until Netflix comes out for it.

  67. they just need to make a $99 box. That’s all I ever wanted from google tv.

  68. TV networks are out of touch old tech. They would be the milk bottle companies complaining about the new fangled cartons and plastic jugs… A network needs to break ranks and allow GTV, but the the old tech are circling the wagons, the Sioux are out there boys and your days are numbered.

  69. Google wins all their battles. (except for wave)
    Just look at their balance sheets.
    And their success with all their other products.

    I’m sure the network brass all have “loads in their drawers” worried about “holding back the inevitable!

    Phone went to VOIP.
    Cell Phone went to “SMARTPHONE / INTERNET.
    Music went to INTERNET.
    Newspaper went to INTERNET.
    Video Rentals are headed for INTERNET.
    Television (backed by GOOGLE) – Take A GUESS!!!

    I suspect Google will keep adding features and services to their set top box…..

    And pretty soon, all the cable companies and satellite providers will be envious and want a “Google Box” to offer!

    ~~~Just look at what happened with the iPhone & ATT!

  70. IMHO, I believe that there needs to be a meaningful update of Internet TV. There is a significant population of users of this concept. Current providers (ie MsnTv2, AOLTV etc) are woefully in need of meaningful upgrades to meet the needs of users of the product. I believe Googletv if given a chance could meet this need. It would be much appreciated by Many. If not GoogleTV, perhaps MSFTV would comeout with a updated product; ie MSNTV3. There has been some gossip that the latter is in the works. Anyways, do not write off those of us who truely enjoy the Internet Content on the TV Concept. Cheers, rgc364

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